"I cannot live without books." -- Thomas Jefferson

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover by Alex Steinwess

Taschen has published a retrospective of album cover designer Alex Steinwess, who basically pioneered the art form. Steinwess designed thousands of covers for labels like Columbia, London, Decca and Everest, to name a few. He also did design work for film studios, magazines and even disilleries. Inside, you'll find wonderful reproductions of his best work, as well as little known gems. One of the best reproduced covers is that of Columbia Presents Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue, created in 1941 for the Andre Kostelanetz Orchestra featuring Alec Templeton. Or check out the cover of Shostakovitch's Symphony No. 5, which is a concrete-like fist atop a bolt of lighting amidst what appear to be blurred-0ut galaxies or super bright clouds. Then, of course, there's the cover of Daniel De Carlo's One Night of Love, with De Carlo beside an open door, replete with a cartoonish Wolfman mask, beckoning the listener into a room with a table in the background graced with a bottle of champagne. Within, there's also a retrospective of Steinwess' collage work for artists like Dave Drubeck and Guy Lombardo.

A wonderful book, and sure to make a great Holiday present for the music or album cover aficionado.

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